White Sox

White Sox: Elbow injury shouldn't keep Trayce Thompson out long

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White Sox: Elbow injury shouldn't keep Trayce Thompson out long

Doesn’t look like Trayce Thompson’s 2016 audition, which has gone very well, will be disrupted for too long.

Though the White Sox rookie didn’t swing a bat on Tuesday, he’s confident his hyperextended left elbow would only keep him out of action for a brief period.

Given how Thompson felt when he landed on his elbow in the ninth inning of Monday’s game, an injury that required an X-ray (it was negative), both he and the club feel fortunate things aren’t worse. Wearing a protective sleeve, Thompson reported he can already move around the afflicted elbow and that it had improved.

“It was feeling a little better,” Thompson said. “Last night it was stiff and this morning it stiffened up a little bit, but I have been here and done some stuff, done some treatment with Herm (Schneider) and it’s been feeling a lot better.”

Thompson has been a pleasant surprise this season as he has hit considerably more than scoutsprojected and even the White Sox could have predicted. Through 66 plate appearances, Thompson carries a .377/.424/.689 slash line with four home runs and 13 RBIs.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

While the six-week run has been extremely impressive, manager Robin Ventura isn’t certain it would win Thompson a starting job in 2016. But, it has made the White Sox believers in Thompson’s ability.

“I don’t know if that is (enough time) but you know he’s a big league player,” Ventura said. “The more reps he gets and the more time you’re going to get a better understanding of that but right now, from what we’ve seen the last few years to five months ago, he’s a better player and I think he’s a big league player.”

Though the spotlight has been pointed in his direction the past six weeks, Thompson has tried not to get too caught up in the attention. He said he doesn’t worry about the big picture and focuses as much on his mistakes as his successes.

“It’s a very humbling game so you just have to be the same guy every day,” Thompson said. “That’s something I take pride in. Nobody is perfect and that’s what we all strive to be personality-wise in this game to take the highs with the highs and the lows with the lows and just try to be the same guy all the time. I struggled just as much in the minor leagues as any guy in here so I think that has helped me a lot.”

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

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AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

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USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.